About My Life and the Kept Woman: A Memoir

The untold personal life story of the novelist whom Gore Vidal has hailed as “one of the few original American writers of the last century.” John Rechy’s first novel, City of Night, is a modern classic and his subsequent body of work has kept him among America’s most important writers. Now, for the first time, he writes about his life, in a volume that is a testament to the power of pride and self-acceptance. Rechy was raised Mexican-American in Texas, at a time when Latino children were routinely discriminated against. As he grew older—and as his fascination with a notorious kept woman from his childhood deepened—Rechy became aware that his differences lay not just in his heritage but in his sexuality. While he performed the roles others wanted for him, he never allowed them to define him—whether it was the authoritarians in the U.S. Army during the Korean War, the bigoted relatives of his Anglo college classmates, or the men and women who wanted him to be something he was not. About My Life and the Kept Woman is as much a portrait of intolerance as of an individual who defied it to forge his own path.

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By Kenneth (New York, NY) · October 22, 2014
I read John Rechy's first book, City of Night when it was first published in 1963. I was about 23 and too naive to appreciate what a good writer he is. I am tempted to reread City of Night, but it seems to be almost 800 pages. This is a beautifully written book and a compelling story. ...more
By Randy (New York, NY) · ★★★☆☆ · April 23, 2014
I am glad I stuck with it. Once the author gets himself to Los Angeles the story becomes more complex. The first third of the novel confused me as if the author himself was confused about the meaning of his childhood. I don 't think this story is about a gay man. I think this is a story about a H... ...more
By Matthew (Providence, RI) · ★★★☆☆ · October 26, 2009
This took me two months to get through, though that's probably my fault and not John Rechy's.

Do you ever read something that's pretty good, and maybe it's actually interesting more than it is technically good, but somehow it's completely inspiring anyway and makes you want to just write and writ... ...more
By Wendy (Neelyville, MO) · ★★★★★ · March 26, 2015
Rechy tells a little bit more about himself and his personal story with each coming book. He's a fascinating man and the revelation about the kept woman is well worth waiting for. He has come full circle. Love him and his work. ...more
By Lisa (Melbourne, 07, Australia) · ★★★★★ · February 01, 2012
After reading the very amazing "City of Night", I was very tempted to read Rechy's other offerings.
I just got a massive parcel from Amazon, and this was one of them. I've just started reading it, and it's about growing up as a half Latino, half Irish boy in El Paso. Will see how it goes, but I l... ...more
By Margaret (Athens, GA) · ★★★★☆ · July 20, 2012
Overall, I thought this was a good book, and I enjoyed it. I thought the end part about his life in California dragged a bit, and I was more interested in his childhood and college years. I thought it was an interesting exploration of identity, and particularly for the first half of the book, I c... ...more
By Jeff (Seattle, WA) · ★★★★☆ · August 04, 2013
After reading this entire memoir by Mr Rechy, much of which involves him engaging in sex acts with men, it's still not clear to me if Mr Rechy is straight, gay, or bisexual, or (as the constructionists would say) whether those terms have much meaning.